Ship may sail to Gaza without permission

2011-07-01 10:01

kalahari.com

Athens - A US ship declared it may set sail from a Greek port for Gaza without permission and an Irish ship has dropped out of the pro-Palestinian flotilla planning to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, citing sabotage, activists said.

Up to 400 international activists had been due to sail this week to Gaza aboard 10 ships leaving from Greece to protest the naval blockade that Israel imposed on the Palestinian territory after Hamas militants overran it in 2007.

An Israeli raid on a similar flotilla last year killed nine activists on a Turkish ship and each side blamed the other for the violence.

On Thursday, American activist Ann Wright said Greek authorities were bowing to Israeli pressure and deliberately stalling the departure of 53 passengers and crew - including 11 journalists - aboard a ship named the Audacity of Hope from a port near Athens.

"We're fed up with it already, we've already waited seven days. We were ready to go a week ago," Wright said.

She wouldn't say how long activists would wait for the all-clear before the 33m ferry begins its journey. But she said the Greek coast guard would "probably" stop the boat shortly after departing.

Netanyahu thanks world leaders

Audacity of Hope passenger Alice Walker, author of the acclaimed novel The Color Purple, on Thursday read to journalists letters and cards that American children are sending to Gaza residents via the ship.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the flotilla on Thursday evening at a graduation ceremony for new pilots in central Israel, praising the action of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

"Sometimes we are required not only to repel physical attacks by our enemies but also repel the attacks against our right to defend ourselves. In that regard, I want to thank the many world leaders who spoke out and acted lately against the flotilla provocation," he said.

"Israel has the full right to act against attempts to legitimise the smuggling of missiles, rockets and other weapons to the terror enclave of Hamas," he added.

The UN's top human rights official on Thursday welcomed the Israeli government's decision to drop its threat to issue deportation orders against journalists on the flotilla.

"I'm always taking the view that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and must be lifted, since it results in a disproportionate use of force against civilians," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters in Geneva.

Israeli agents fingered

The Irish ship MV Saoirse on Thursday had to abandon plans to set sail because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Activist Huwaida Arraf told Israel's Army Radio that the ship's engine was damaged while in port and could have lead to deaths on board.

"When the engine was started, it completely bent," Arraf said. "While out at sea, if this would have happened, if it would have bent in this way, the boat would have started taking on water and it could have led to fatalities."

The alleged sabotage occurred at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek where the MV Saoirse has been berthed for the past few weeks, organisers said.

Earlier this week, activists said Israeli agents damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port.

Israel has refused AP requests for comment on the allegations.

US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner - asked to comment on Thursday on the alleged sabotage - said there was no proof it had taken place due to a lack of "independent confirmation".

Toner, speaking to reporters in Washington, said State Department opinion is "the flotillas are a bad idea", and there're other ways to get this kind of assistance to Gaza.

"Our bottom line is, we don't want to see anyone put at risk. And that would include any action to sabotage these boats but also the boats themselves - the flotillas themselves - will put these individuals at risk."


- AP
Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  alice walker  |  israel  |  us  |  gaza  |  gaza ship raid
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.